Russian businessman, government official and mathematician.
Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, also known as Platon Elenin, was a Russian business oligarch, government official, engineer, and mathematician. He was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Berezovsky was politically opposed to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin since Putin’s election in 2000 and remained a vocal critic of Putin for the rest of his life. In late 2000, after the Russian Deputy Prosecutor General demanded that Berezovsky appear for questioning, he did not return from abroad and moved to the UK, which granted him political asylum in 2003. In Russia, he was later convicted in absentia of fraud and embezzlement. The first charges were brought during Primakov’s government in 1999. Despite an Interpol Red Notice for Berezovsky’s arrest, Russia repeatedly failed to obtain the extradition of Berezovsky from Britain, which became a major point of diplomatic tension between the two countries.
Berezovsky made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s, when the country went through privatization of state property. He profited from gaining control over various assets, including the country’s main television channel, Channel One. In 1997, Forbes estimated Berezovsky’s wealth at US$3 billion. He was at the height of his power in the later Yeltsin years, when he was deputy secretary of Russia’s security council, a friend of Boris Yeltsin’s influential daughter Tatyana, and a member of the Yeltsin “family” (inner circle). Berezovsky helped fund Unity, the political party that formed Vladimir Putin’s parliamentary base, and was elected to the Duma on Putin’s slate. However, following the Russian presidential election in March 2000, Berezovsky went into opposition and resigned from the Duma. After he moved to Britain, the government took over his television assets, and he divested from other Russian holdings.
In 2012, Berezovsky lost a London High Court case he brought over the ownership of the major oil producer Sibneft, against Roman Abramovich, in which he sought over £3 billion in damages. The court concluded that Berezovsky had never been a co-owner of Sibneft.
Berezovsky was found dead at his home, Titness Park, at Sunninghill, near Ascot in Berkshire, on 23 March 2013. A post-mortem examination found that his death was consistent with hanging and that there were no signs of a violent struggle. However, the coroner at the inquest into Berezovsky’s death later recorded an open verdict.